Leland D. Melvin

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Leland Devon Melvin
Leland melvin.jpg
NASA Astronaut
Nationality American
Status Active
Born (1964-02-15) February 15, 1964 (age 50)
Lynchburg, Virginia
Other occupation
Time in space
23d 13h 28m [1]
Selection 1998 NASA Group
Missions STS-122 STS-129
Mission insignia
STS-122 patch.png STS-129 patch.png

Leland Devon Melvin (February 15, 1964, Lynchburg, Virginia) is an American engineer and a NASA astronaut. He served on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis as a mission specialist on STS-122, and as mission specialist 1 on STS-129. Melvin was named the NASA Associate Administrator for Education in October 2010.

Melvin attended Heritage High School and then went on to the University of Richmond on a football scholarship, where he received a bachelor's degree in Chemistry. In 1991 he received a Master of Science degree in Materials Science Engineering, from the University of Virginia. His parents, Deems and Grace Melvin, reside in Lynchburg, Virginia. His recreational interests include photography, piano, reading, music, cycling, tennis, and snowboarding. Melvin appeared as an elimination challenge guest judge in the 12th episode of Top Chef (season 7)[2] and with his dogs in the 7th season of the The Dog Whisperer.[3] He is the president of the Spaceship Earth Grants, a public benefit corporation whose mission is to make space more accessible through human spaceflight and parabolic flight awards to individual applicants.[4]

Football career[edit]

Leland Melvin was a wide receiver on the University of Richmond football team from 1982-85. Melvin is first on University of Richmond's career lists with 198 receptions for 2,669 yards (2,441 m),[5] and fourth on Richmond's career touchdown receptions list with 16. He was an AP honorable mention All-America selection in 1984 and 1985 and second team Apple Academic All-America in 1985. A team captain during his senior season, Melvin had his best year in 1985, with 65 catches for 956 yards (874 m) and eight TDs. His top game was in 1984 against James Madison University, when he had 10 catches for 208 yards (190 m) and one touchdown. Melvin caught at least one pass in every game he played as a Richmond Spider (39). He was inducted into the University of Richmond Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee Class of 1996-97 and selected for the All-UR Stadium Team in 2009, which commemorates the greatest Spiders to have played at the stadium in its 81 year history.[6]

Melvin was chosen by the Detroit Lions in the 11th round of the 1986 NFL Draft, as a wide receiver. During training camp, he pulled his hamstring and was released from the team. He reported to the Dallas Cowboys the following spring but pulled his hamstring a second time, officially ending his professional football career. He also participated in the Toronto Argonauts football training camp.

NASA career[edit]

Melvin began working in Nondestructive Evaluation Sciences Branch at NASA Langley Research Center in 1989. His responsibilities included using optical fiber sensors to measure strain, temperature, and chemical damage in both composite and metallic structures. In 1994, he was selected to lead the Vehicle Health Monitoring team for the cooperative NASA/ Lockheed Martin X-33 Reusable Launch Vehicle program. In 1996, he co-designed and monitored construction of an optical nondestructive evaluation facility capable of producing in-line fiber optic sensors.[7]

Selected as an astronaut in June 1998, Melvin reported for training in August 1998. He has since been assigned to the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations Branch, and the Education Department at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. As co-manager of NASA's Educator Astronaut Program, Leland Melvin has traveled across the country, discussing space exploration with teachers and students, and promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He next served in the Robotics Branch of the Astronaut Office.[7]

Melvin flew two missions on the Space Shuttle Atlantis: as a mission specialist on STS-122 (February 7–20, 2008), and as mission specialist 1 on STS-129 (November 16–27, 2009).

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ "Astronauts and Cosmonauts (sorted by "Time in Space")". Space Facts. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  2. ^ Amiko Kauderer (September 3, 2010). "NASA Presents Challenge to Top Chef Contestants". NASA. Retrieved September 10, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Dog Whisperer- Astronaut Dogs & Mongo". National Geographic. Retrieved February 28, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Apply to fly: Astronaut-led group launches contest to send public to space". collectSPACE. Retrieved 2014-09-15. 
  5. ^ "University of Richmond Athletic Hall Of Fame". CBS Sports. University of Richmond. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Richmond Announces All-UR Stadium Team". CBS Sports. University of Richmond. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "NASA Astronaut Bio". NASA. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 

External links[edit]